Paul Stothart is vice-president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues. This article was published in November, 2010.
As a consequence of its fundamental role (such as turning rock into 99.99% pure metal), the Canadian and global mining industry faces a range of environmental challenges relating to water use, tailings management, air emissions and energy efficiency, among others. And, as a consequence of its global presence and importance in developing countries, the sector faces a range of social issues – Aboriginal relations, community engagement, social and health investments, and others.
On these two inter-related themes, there is no shortage of demands placed upon the mining industry. In assuming its responsibilities, the industry invests heavily in schools, roads, hospitals, clinics and nutrition programs, among other initiatives, and adheres to numerous standards and protocols in addition to host government laws and regulations. One MAC member company has reported fully 15 codes and protocols that guide its global practice in the area of corporate social responsibility. These actions and investments are for the betterment of Canadian and global society, just as the products themselves, as built from minerals and metals, contribute to an improved quality of life.
However, one socio-environmental area that does not receive sufficient attention in Canada, and where Canada arguably lags Europe, China and other regions, relates to the recycling of metals. Continue Reading →